Standing still

There is something magical that happens when a new relationship begins. Each moment is treasured, reflected on, stored in memory, much like those moments in nature when time stands still, and forces you to do so too.

Last night I slept where you had been
the sheets still warm from memories
when you were gone, I woke
to the darkness of dawn
silent with shadows
but filled with birdsong
so I snuggled in deeper,
with the memories
of where you had once been.

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Begin

An Open Heart


Arum lily

In that space of grey
I floated free
no one else there, but me
thoughts of you came and went
there were days, I wept myself spent
until there were days of joy,
you were right there with me

In your presence I was born again
allowing love and laughter to be my friend
Oh! how time has flown
I have grown younger by the day
where did age go, I cannot say

As I navigate through stumbles and falls
eager to experience all
the time has come to smile and say
an open heart can chart new ways
this I understand, today.

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Understand

Being there …

Cattle Station, Wyndham, Kimberley region, Western Australia

I love this quote by Thomas Fuller – “Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it”

A few years ago I went up north and spent a week at a cattle station in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.  I was tired of hotel rooms.  I wanted to go back to basics and rough it.  I was immediately drawn to the horses.  The first time our eyes met, I was mesmerised by the intelligence, sensitivity and awareness of these animals.  They had this undefinable presence and I was hooked.  I took scores of photographs but this one is a favourite.  In these beautiful brown eyes I connected with something deeper within me.  It was easy to go there. I was no longer alone.

Everything I saw and experienced was a healing moment in my journey.  The 4WD river crossings and climbing rocks, where I had to place my trust in strangers, saltwater crocodiles we saw that scared and delighted me, camping under the stars one night, the sounds of brolgas in the dark, the barramundi fishing, the open camp fire with billy tea for breakfast.  What an adventure!  And as the full moon shone bright, alone in my tent, something shifted in me.  The urge was irrepressible.  For the first time in 17 years I started to write and shared my work with others.  ‘My voice’ had returned.  I had returned.

Until then I felt I was alive but did not breathe.  Grief has its own subjective expression.  Although I was highly functional and successful in every other way, the core of me, my writing, ceased to exist.  Among strangers I found family.  No longer did I have to be brave and dry eyed.  It somehow felt okay to weep in words and, at last, grieve my profound loss.  It felt like those around me understood the unspoken.  They were respectful and sensitive in moments of silence when I fought for composure and at times, strangers cried with me.  My pain, theirs.

I’ve shared this poem elsewhere in my blog but tonight I feel like I want to share it again.  I wrote the poem as a tribute to those who were at the Station with me.  If I am at peace and accepting tonight, it is because of them.

As the moon brightened the night,
I walked along the celestial bitumen
I saw stars there, signposts for travellers lost
I saw stars in other places too, that only I could see
Have I been lost?
Did you leave them there for me?
As dawn unveiled the granite ridge
I saw a kapok tree, aglow,
with yellow flowers on bare, brown branches
And at my door, emu and wallaby
Child-like I spied on nature
clutching seedpods in my hand
held my breath watching blue dragonflies land
And, while passing travellers warned,
I experienced life at a billabong
I walked down a dusty path, visible to you, not me
to Mother Boab tree
and at my feet I found stars twinkling
where light and shadow meet
I have been on a silent journey
This time, the million steps became one
when I headed out in someone else’s footsteps
and returned in mine
My fellow travellers, you were not to know
long ago, yet, like yesterday
Grief silenced me
But in the barren night, alone,
not alone
I found something glowed in the Kimberley
It was the stars

The ones you left for me.

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Sensitive

When hope illuminates


The flash flood of emotions seemed to disappear as quickly as they came.  First the shock of losing a significant part of one’s business, the grief of instant severance from teams without good bye, the discomfort and anxiety of uncertainty for the future.  It only took overnight for me to take charge.  I assessed my financial situation with the bank and my accountant and moved to the next phase of finding where I would start my new normal.  The statistics were low at that point with Western Australia having only 14 confirmed cases but the alarm grew with each passing hour.  While distracted by statistics I had to undertake training and demonstrate competencies in delivering my services remotely.  Then there were meetings with colleagues in a virtual office, each supporting others in finding this new path.  It was a valuable enough exercise for us to allocate time to do this each week.  Together, we were on the other side.

As with every peak there is a slide and it took me by surprise.  The emotion of guilt was pervasive for a few days.  I was able to get back on track and begin working again when so many have lost their businesses and livelihood.  All I have lost is money but for others, this public health catastrophe has touched their lives in unimaginable ways.  The saturation of statistics, each pebble with far reaching ripples of grief for so many overwhelmed me.  The sheer magnitude of the global situation and the nonsensical rhetoric of some world ‘leaders’ left me feeling helpless.  So I set about making changes in my own world.

I have written in another post about the time someone tried to break into my home.  In the decades that followed, I, unconsciously, started to collect stuff.  Everything had value because it ‘protected’ me in the home.  For example, for someone who was barely home one or two nights a week, to have a linen cupboard full of expensive linen should have been a red flag.  The countless vases when I cannot have fresh flowers in the home due to frequent travel, should have been another.  My home was not a hoarder’s home except for boxes in the corridors when it was being renovated.  But I did leave them there for longer than they should have been.  Every empty space had to be filled with something of value.  It was not the objects, but the thinking that was my ‘protection’.

Three weeks after the phone call that grounded me indefinitely I have found an  understanding.  What really matters in life is health and well being, being kind, being empathic, letting someone have the last can of tomatoes on the shelf because you know you already have one in your hand has new meaning these days.  Kindness highlights, less is more.  I can finally see a near empty garage.  Where folks cannot pick up the furniture I’m giving away, I’m arranging for a local handyman to do this.  It keeps him working too.  Very few belongings have the value they once did.  We ascribe value to objects in a subjective way and we devalue them subjectively too.  There is freedom in this thinking.

We may never fully grasp the enormity of what the world has experienced, continues to experience and will experience for a very long time, but we can experience hope for the future.  Nature shows us this.  It is after the fiercest bush fires that the most beautiful wild flowers bloom. I know this because I search and find them.

Much like nature, faith burns and blooms.  And as I experience the biggest faith challenge at this time, I dare to hope for the impossible that is inherent in the symbolism of Easter.  May you do, too.

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge:  Disappear

Who’s space is this?


She is no bigger than three inches tall and I fell in love with the figurine as soon as I saw it.  She reminded me of my daughter when she was a toddler, always curious, always full of wonder, complete with Pebbles hairstyle.  I just had to buy it.  I found it the other day while decluttering.  I dusted it, reaching tiny spaces with a cotton bud, looked at it and wondered, can I reframe my thoughts of feeling trapped into a feeling of curiosity?

It did start that way but five days in, the idea started to get old, even though I am in my own space.  Trapped because I am only eight days into my self imposed isolation.  I wanted to experience what 14 days of isolation would feel like so I could understand how others feel.  It’s not a nice feeling but reframing constantly, this is an exercise of safety for self and others, brings some comfort and enhances resilience.

In the mornings I feel like I am an animal in the zoo.  The lorikeets watch me through the windows.  The Willy Wagtail goes through a couple of hours of agitation, chit chitting along the windows, and patio, peering at me and buzzing the glass.  I suspect a nest is being built in the mulberry tree.  I experienced the same territorial behaviour two years ago when the bird constantly buzzed me when I went out with laundry.  How tiny they are but at the moment, they are freer than me.  I feel a shift in power and tip toe around my home, making my movements small and slow in submission.

Space is meaningful to me in so many ways.  The space in one’s ‘head’ is specially interesting to me.  Sometimes we create our own zoo of thoughts.  We trap them.  We examine them like they were exotic.  Sometimes we yearn to domesticate them.  Or like the Willy Wagtail, we become territorial about them.  Some we set free and watch them soar, a feeling of relief, a feeling of letting go, like they were ours to set free.  They never were.  They set us free.

I’ve had an idea in my head and would love someone to paint or draw it for me, preferably with charcoal on white paper.  The concept is a simple one.  An open field.  A some visible fence posts.  A single, delicate, barbed wire hanging between the posts.  The art would be called Freedom.  When I think of this concept, I’ve often wondered, which side of the barbed wire do you have to be to experience freedom?

These days, I too am standing on my toes, filled with curiosity thinking about this.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Zoo

My heart beats, for you …

thumb_IMG_0948_1024With my head on the pillow
I heard my heart beat, loud,
too loud, in the void
still warm from you
lulled by rhythm
of that glorious red
fountain of my being
I drifted forward, bold,
towards the dark
when the yearning, the reality,
that treacherous collaboration
took hold
and woke me from the nightmare
of being feasted on, while alive.

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Collaborate

The unspoken, spoken …


For some age is a precious commodity, traded in social media likes.  In the real world, it is often an unspoken judgement.  Sometimes, the unspoken is spoken candidly, like the time …

I signalled it was time to leave.  He stood up, pushed himself away from the table and walked across the room.  From his corner, he eyed me silently and then stated with absolute conviction, “You’re old!”  To my surprise, his observation stung me as I had just celebrated a birthday.  It cut close to the bone.  “Old!” I exclaimed.  “Yes, old”, he responded, his face serious with gravity of the moment.  I smiled and tried to diffuse the situation.  I responded in an even voice, “I know I’m old, but how did you know I am old?”  His eyes scanned me while I silently promised myself to check my face more closely, thinking, either my eye sight is failing or I’m getting wrinkles.  Collecting his thoughts, he tells me.  “You’ve got wrinkles on your fingers”.

I invited him back to the table.  With hands side by side, we observe them together.  I share with him, “Your fingers have wrinkles, too”.  He stared hard at my hand and then at his little hand near mine and stated, “Yes.  I’m old too.  I’m four years old.”

May you enjoy a precious moment today.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Unspoken

Eyes like stars …

This has been one of the happiest decades of my life so why write about the year, when there is more to celebrate!

My work is a labour of love.  No ifs and buts about it.  It feels I have emerged from automatic mode.  A huge gamble to give up tenured government work for the unknown of working for self has paid off dividends in the most unexpected ways.

I travel extensively, never tiring, always anticipating, never knowing what the day will bring me professionally.  I love the excitement of this.  I do know what it brings me spiritually consistently and that’s what I’d like to share with you.DSC_0502
Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia
I discovered, depending where you stand, sand can glitter like gold.thumb_IMG_0515_1024
And gold can be beige like sand.
Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia
I accepted sometimes in the most beautiful place, people can walk into the picture for a moment and when they leave, it is still the most beautiful place.
Featherflower (verticordia grandis), Lesueur National Park, Jurien Bay, Western Australia
I found Nature is filled with fountains of vivid colour.
No more in muted clothing, I wear colours to remind me what keeps me alive inside.DSC_0597
Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia
A sunset is not the end of the day, it is a sunrise elsewhere.DSC_0221.jpg
Benedictine Monastery, New Norcia, Western Australia
No longer captive, I look through windows because I am captivated.DSC_0846.jpg
Oyster Harbour, King George Sound, Albany, Western Australia
I discovered sometimes the light shines brightest on what is not there, to illuminate this truth.DSC_0987.jpg
HMAS Sydney II Memorial, Geraldton, Western Australia
That when we pause to remember, family, friend or stranger, we may be left behind but we are never alone.  There is companionship in memories.
Wedge-tailed eagle, Midwest outback, Western Australia
Although mesmerised, to be wary of the magnificence of a predator.
Splendid Fairywren, Bunbury, Western Australia
Blue is the colour of sheer joy, not a state of being.DSCN8430.jpg
Boab Tree family, Eastern Kimberley region, Western Australia
I found my ‘voice’ this decade, at the foot of the Mother Boab tree where the ancient wisdom of trees healed my grief.DSCN8789.jpg
Karijini National Park, Pilbara, Western Australia
In the harshest country, I accepted the gift of peace.DSCN8531.jpg
On the way to Diggers’ Rest, East Kimberley region, Western Australia
In the company of strangers, I found family.thumb_IMG_0698_1024.jpg
Twilight Beach, Esperance, Western Australia
In a moment of silence I found clouds are there to balance a perfect picture.DSCN8328.jpg
Frangipani, Karratha, Western Australia
Once an impossible dream, I now awaken to the scent of frangipani, symbol of love and devotion, and also the symbol of new life and renewal.  Oh! the irony to find this in mining country!

Thank you for your presence in my life.  May the next year and next decade fill you with hope for a better world.  Look closer, not in the distance or in someone else, and you’ll find it, like I did.

Happy New Year!

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Labor

In response to RDP – Tuesday – Stellar

The stars in my galaxy …

thumb_IMG_0808_1024Although we did not eat our Christmas meal at my home this year, I still enjoyed trimming the tree.  Some traditions are worth maintaining I felt because this Christmas was one of surprises.

About a month before Christmas, Daughter introduced me to veganism, not for political reasons, but as a lifestyle choice.  We went to a few vegan restaurants and I found the food really tasty.  I thought I could never give up cheese but surprisingly I’m not missing it that much especially over the holiday period which should have been a challenge.  I’ve adapted to almond milk and don’t drink as much coffee as I usually do.  I’ve had negligible amounts of meat, seafood and cheese without the discomfort of wanting more but I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to sustain it when travelling, as closely as I am, when at home.thumb_IMG_0817_1024
Our Christmas celebrations at Son and DIL’s (daughter in law) home was amazing.  She has been a vegetarian since she was in her early teens.  That truffle mac cheese with herb topping was delicious!  Everything else was plant based.  She was a star this year.
Daughter (aka my wild child) is going through an eco and vegan phase.  (She has also discovered KonMari!  Wonders never cease!).  She wrapped all our presents in remnant cloth pieces.  Another star is born!  DIL will use the material in costumes that she sews during the year.  Daughter also delighted in giving us a ghastly salt and pepper set that she picked up in Mexico, the same for each household, because she said between peals of laughter, “everyone should get at least one crap present at Christmas!”.  thumb_IMG_0826_1024.jpg
Daughter also tells me a Bloody Mary is one of those drinks that one can start the day with, and not be judged!  So I made a jug of this with fresh produce and started my day.

So this Christmas there were no food comas.  Just a feeling of satiation.  Of giving and receiving love and … a jug of Bloody Mary!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Star

Moora, Western Australia

My contracts have been renewed for another year.  End of year is always a time of tension and then relief.  Work does not buy me material things.  It buys me professional freedom to do the kind of work I feel committed to doing, so the relief is always palpable.

One of my last country trips was to Moora, a small town in the North Eastern Wheatbelt, some 160 km (100 miles) from my home.  It has a population of just under 2000 people.  I am yet to see more than twenty people in town in peak hour mid day.  Being farming country, most of the population live away from town.  It is not uncommon for folks to come into town for their appointment having travelled nearly 200 kms.  Children can do a round trip of 100 kms twice a day when travelling in a school bus.  These are hardy, community minded folks.

Check in for my accommodation at the local caravan park is done at the local petrol station!  In such an unassuming town the surprise for me is one of the local cafes and the pub, The Drovers’ Inn.

DSCN9800-2.jpgAt the end of the main street that has no more than ten shops I think, is the pub (on the right).


DSCN9799The Drovers’ Inn, circa 1909, is something out of a movie set.  I learnt the hard way.  To buy a drink, avoid the bar when it is shearing season!  The Bottle Shop entrance on the right with the discreet blue sign is a better bet!  The meals here are amazing.

Around the corner from the Bottle Shop is the entrance to the dining room.  It is opulent indoors and the first time I entered this place I was taken aback.  Now that I am a regular visitor here for meals I aim to get more photographs of the building next year.

The counter is made from wood and curved and belted with this brass decoration that goes all around it.

I just love it!

Across the railway track is the local cafe with a French name and serves French food with Edith Piaf’s wonderful voice infusing the atmosphere.

The cafe has been doing well.  It’s so good to see this in a small town.  It has moved to bigger premises.  This is only part of the extended shop.  There were too many people around and I didn’t want to invade their privacy but I’ll get more pictures next time.  I just love the chandeliers!

The drive to Moora is something I enjoy.  Being in the heart of the Wheatbelt and big road train country, there are huge chicanes that brings out my inner rally driver when I’m not stuck behind slow moving farming equipment.   With my playlist on loud, this is a trip I’ve come to love.  I’m so thrilled it will continue for another year.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Freedom